The Great Lakes Loons announced in an email press release this afternoon that the Los Angeles Dodgers are returning former Loons skipper John Shoemaker
to manage its single-A affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons for the 2018 Midwest League baseball season. He replaces Jeremy Rodriguez, who is pegged to manage one of the rookie level teams in the organization.
Shoemaker is no stranger to the Midland area after spending two previous seasons (2011-12) as Loons skipper, where he compiled a 139-140 (.498) record, and the Chillicothe, OH native is eager to get back to his mid-western roots.
“The Dodgers and the Loons have had a great 11-year relationship with a lot of exciting baseball players and baseball games,” Shoemaker said. “I'm looking forward to returning to the Midwest League for the 2018 season. Midland has a great fan base and the beautiful Dow Diamond, along with a terrific front office staff. Every player who goes to the Loons is always really excited about the facilities that are here.”
The 61 year old Shoemaker was drafted by the Dodgers as a second baseman in the 35th round of the 1977 MLB draft, advancing as high as triple-A, before retiring as a player after the 1980 season to become batting coach of the Vero Beach Dodgers from 1981-86 then managing the team for two (1987-88) seasons. He was also drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the sixth round of the 1978 NBA draft.
Shoemaker would go on to spend the rest of his career working (primarily as a coach or training coordinator) in the Los Angeles organization.
Following his two years with the Loons, Shoemaker was named coordinator of Arizona instruction at the Dodgers' training facility at Camelback Ranch
in Glendale, AZ for the 2013 season, before becoming manager of the Dodgers' Arizona Rookie League team for 3 of the past 4 years (2014, 2016, and 2017) while also managing the 2015 Ogden Raptors in the Dodgers' short-season rookie league.
Rodriguez (who led the Loons to a 69-70 record last year) will stay with the organization and take over as skipper of the Ogden Raptors, where he will be joined by long time Loons assistant Fumimasa Ishibashi.
Former Loons manager (and former Detroit Tigers catcher) Bill Haselman
will head back to Oklahoma City to manage the Dodgers' triple-A team, while Scott Hennessey has been named skipper of the Dodgers' double-A team in Tulsa, and Drew Saylor will take over the advanced-A team in Rancho Cucamonga.
Shoemaker will spend spring training with all of the other recently drafted and signed free agent Dodger players, before coming to Midland in early April to prepare the 2018 Loons for the MWL season opener against the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) on Thursday April, 5 at Dow Diamond, where the first pitch is set for 6:05 pm.
Great Lakes Loons 2017 season recap: